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GMC2013:PipingMisalignmentandVibrationRelatedFatigueFailures

Authors/Presenters:
GaryMaxwell,GeneralManager,BETAMachineryAnalysis
BrianHowes,ChiefEngineer,BETAMachineryAnalysis

Introduction
Manyvibrationproblemsareamplifiedbypipingmisalignment(orpipestrain).Insomecasesthe
measuredvibrationamplitudesaredouble,triple,orevenhigherwhenunderpipestrain,comparedto
afterrelievingpipestrain.

Pipestrainoccursduetomanycausesincludingflangemisalignment,andgapsoccurringbetweenthe
processpipeanditssupports.

Forexample,duringarecentfieldvisittoinvestigatevibrationonthepipingsystemnearaPSV,
vibrationwasmeasuredbeforeandafterremovingthepipestrain.AsshowninFigure1below,theas
foundcaseexperiencedexcessivevibrationof4.5ips.Thisissignificantlyhigherthantheacceptable
guidelineof1.0ips.Oncethepipe
strainwasremoved,thevibration
wasreducedtoacceptablelevels
(0.25ips).

Pipestrainhasbeenshownto
contributetosignificantvibration
problemsincludingvibration
inducedpipingfailures.

Usingfielddata,thispaperwill
provideexamplesofpipestrain
problems.

Pipestrainvibrationproblemsare
relatedtothecombinationof
staticanddynamicstresses.The
differentstressrelatedissuesare
presentedasbackgroundmaterial.

Theauthorswilloutlineexisting
standardsandbestpracticesto
mitigatethesedesignand
fabricationproblems.

Figure1Examplevibrationspectrumforpipingwithandwithoutstrain

1. OverviewofPipeStrain
Pipestrain,forthepurposeofthispaper,isconsideredtobetheloadintroducedintothepipingdueto
staticdeflections.Oneofthemajorcontributorsofcontrollablepipestrainispipingmisalignment.The
rootcauseofmisalignmentcanbeattributedtodeficienciesindesign,fabrication,assembly,and
installationpractices.Byitself,pipestrainmaynotbesufficienttocausefailure,butwhencombined
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withthedynamicstressesrelatedtoreciprocatingcompressors,pipestrainbecomesanelementcritical
tothereliabilityofpipingsystems.Thethreefiguresbelowshowexamplesofgeometriesthatresulted
inpipestrain

Figure2:FlangeAlignmentProblem(discovered
afterremovingbolts)

Figure3:Gapinpipingduetoimproperinstallation
(pipestrainwilloccurwhenboltsaretightened)

Figure4AngularMisalignmentofFlange(creatingpipe
strain)

Twopipestrainexamplesarepresentedbelowtoillustratethemagnitudeofvibrationproblemsandthe
typesofsolutionsemployedtoresolvetheissue.Theseexamplesincludeonecaserelatingtostatic
stressproblemsandtheotherrelatingtodynamicstressproblems.

1.aStaticstressrelatedtopipingmisalignment
Inthiscase,boltfailureoccurredbetweenthepedestalsupportandthedistancepiece.Theproblem
wasduetoincreasedstaticloadingoftheboltsofthesupportconnectingthedistancepiecetothe
pedestalcausedby:

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Shortcoupledscrubberandpulsationbottle
Spoolpiece(Figure5)forinletscreenwastooshort
Loadstransferredtothepedestalsupportboltswere
concludedtohaveexceededboltpreloadsand
subsequentvibratorylooseningofthefastener
occurred.
o Itisimportanttonotethatflangealignment
actuallymettherequirementsdefinedin
ASMEB31.3
Figure5Onsitefabricatedspoolpiecetoaddress
Toaddressthepipestrain,thefollowingsolutionwas pipestrainconcerns
successfullyapplied:
Customfabricatednewspoolpieceandcustomthicknessplateforinletscreeninstallation
o Withoutanalysis,standardpracticeofincreasingthepedestalbolttorqueswouldhave
potentiallymovedthestressesbeingcausedbymisalignmentanddynamicloadsto
compressorcomponents.


1.bDynamicstressonpipingsystem
Figure6showsagapbetweenthepipeandthepipesupport.
Oncetheboltsarefullytightened,thepipewillbestrained.

Thepipevibrationproblemisduetothepipenotbeing
shimmedattheclampandtheresultingvibrationresponse
beingneartheMNF.

Apipestrainconditioncouldbecreatedbytighteningthe
clamptodrawthepipetotheclampandresultinincreased
staticstress,shiftofthemechanicalnaturalfrequencyofthe Figure6Gapbetweenpipeandsupportpriorto
system,andachangingindamping. shimming

Tosolvethevibrationproblem,relatedtowhatisshowninFigure6,shimswereaddedbetweenpipe
andclamp.Thisresultedinreducingvibrationtoacceptablelimits.

2.StressesThatAffectFatigueFailuresofPiping
Sourcesofpipestresscomefromdifferentaspectsofareciprocatingcompressorsinstallationand
operation.Thecontributingcomponentstothepipingstressarestaticstressesanddynamicstresses.
Analyzingdynamicstressesrequiresadditionalconsiderations,whichwillalsobediscussed.Thecauseof
fatiguefailuresforprocesspipingrelatestothecombinationoftheboththestaticanddynamicstress.


2a.Sourcesofstaticstresses
StaticStress:Forprocesspiping,loadingisdependentonmorethansimpleuniaxialloading.Process
pipingloadsaremuchmorecomplex.Pipingisunderpressureandwheninstalledoutofalignmentitis
alsounderbendingloading,whichsubjectsthematerialtosheerstresses.Thecombinationofstatic
loadsbecomesthemeanstressactingonthepipe.Inadditiontothestressintroducedbypiping
misalignmentthefollowingsourcesalsoexist:
Weight
o Forunsupportedlengthsofpipe,theweightofthepipeitselfcanintroducestatic
stresses
o Theweightofunsupportedprocessvalvesintroducestaticstress
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Internalpressure
Assemblystressesincludestwoloads
o Boltloading
o Alignmentandfituploads
Environmentalloadingcouldintroduceloadsintothepipingdirectlyorindirectlythrough
reactionsfromstructuresandvesselsaffectedbyenvironmentalloads
o Thermal
o Wind
o Seismic
Skidinstallationpracticescouldintroduceloadsindirectlythroughreactionsfromstructuresand
vesselsifinstallationcausesdeflectionoftheskidthatdifferfromonskidassemblypriortosite
installation
o Gravel
o Piles
o Groutedconcrete
o Other

2.bSourcesofdynamicstresses
Pipinginreciprocatingcompressorserviceisalsosubjecttodynamicstressesfrompulsationinduced
forcesthatcreateanadditionalcomponentofalternatinghoopstressaswellasalternatingaxial
loading.Besidespressurepulsations,additionaldynamicforcesrelatedtotheunbalancedforcesand
couplesofthecompressor,crossheadguideforces,andcylinderstretcharealsopresent.Allofthese
dynamicforcesgeneratepipingvibration.Staticstressescombinedwithdynamicstressescanleadto
failures.Ontheirown,theindividualstresseswouldnotleadtofailure,butwhenstaticanddynamic
stressesarecombined,thecumulativeaffectcreatesvibrationproblems.

UnbalancedForcesand
PulsationInduced
Momentsdueto
ShakingForces ReciprocatingMotion

GasForces
(CylinderStretch)
CrossheadGuideForces



Figure7Dynamicforcesassociatedwithareciprocatingcompressorpackage

Dynamicforcesactingonthecompressorandpipingsystem:
Compressorunbalancedforcesandmomentsfromreciprocatingmotion
Compressorcrossheadguideforces
Compressorcylindergasforces(cylinderstretch)
Pulsationinducedshakingforcesinnearbyvesselsandpiping(onandoffskid)
Lateralforcerelatedtotorsionalresponse
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Thedynamicforcesaffect:
Mainprocess
Smallboreattachments

2.cImportantconsiderationsfordynamicforces
Importanttotheanalysisandpredictionoftheresponseofpipingunderdynamicloadsare
considerationsformechanicalnaturalfrequency(MNF)ofthesystem,stiffnessofthesystem,andthe
systemdamping.
MNFisdefinedasthefrequencywhereanobjectwillwanttovibrateoroscillateinresponsetoapplied
force.MNFisafunctionofspringconstant(stiffness)andmass.Dynamicflexibility(theinverseof
dynamicstiffness)ismaximumattheMNF.
Stiffnessisdefinedasasystemsresistancetodeflectionordeformationfromanappliedforce.Itis
relatedtoasystemsgeometricpropertiesandthematerialorsystemsinherentflexibility.Static
stiffnessdirectlyaffectstheMNFofasystemandcaneitherraiseorlowerit.

Dampingcanbedefinedasaforcethatactsoppositeoscillatingorvibratorymotion.Dampingis
dependentonmaterialandstressduringoperationandisnotaffectedbygeometry.Thematerial
dependentfactorisrelatedtotheflexibilityofthematerial.Stressedcomponentsofmechanical
assembliesareaffectedbyslippageandarerelatedtostructuralorjointfactors.Highdampingwill
resultindecreasedresponseattheMNF,whilelowdampingwillresultinincreasedresponseatthe
MNF.

Section3ofthispaperwillpresenttwoexamplesoffielddatathatsuggestpipestrainhasaffected
dampingvalues.

2.dEffectofcombinedstaticanddynamicstress
Thecombinedstress,whichincludesboththemeanstressandalternatingstress,canberepresentedon
aGoodmandiagram.TheGoodmandiagram(Figure8)showsthattheallowableamplitudeof
alternatingstressdecreasesasmeanstressincreases.Viceversa,theallowedamplitudeofalternating
stressisgreaterasthemeanstressislower.

Figure8GoodmanDiagramforAxialorBendingloads

3. ExamplesofFieldDatawithDampingResponse
Dampingistheleastunderstoodofthedynamicconsiderationfactorsbuthasthepotentialtohavea
largeeffecttothevibrationresponse.Thefollowingtwocasesillustratehowdampingisbelievedtobe
affectedbypipestrain.Theconclusionthatachangeindampingresultsfrompipestrainisbasedon
datacollectedwheretheinputforceswerenotbelievedtohavebeenreduced.
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3.aDampingexample(suctionbottleandpiping)
Inthiscase,theproblemisvibrationonthesuctionbottle
andpiping(Figure9).Initialvibrationmeasurementsofthe
pipingonthemiddlethrowbetweenheadendunloaderand
pulsationbottlehadvibrationoverguideline(1.5ipspk@
119.4Hz).

Looseningoftheclampthattiedthepipetothebrace
showedagapbetweenbraceandpiping.

Thefollowingsolutionwasimplementedtocorrectthe
problem: Figure9Bracingofcylinderheadendunloader
Gapbetweenbraceandpipewasshimmedand piping
clampretightened
Vibrationsaftershimmingwerereducedtoguideline(.45ipspk@119.4Hz)
Figure10showsvibrationtraceinblackisasfoundandredisaftershimmingthegap
Spectrum TP: TP # 15 (A)
Channel: 2 P:BMA-Pipe
1.8
Date: Dec 14, 2007 17:14
1 Setup:
Note:
1.5
Freq. Magnitude
# Hz ips Pk
1 119.4 1.60E+00
2 159.4 4.98E-01
1.2 3 139.4 3.70E-01
4 40.0 2.73E-01
5 20.0 2.53E-01
Magnitude (ips Pk)

ASCII00067\G1, 1sv00001.csv

0.9

0.6
2

0.3 5 4

0.0
0 50 100 150 200 250 300 350 400 450 500
Figure10Spectrumplotofbeforeandaftermeasurementsshowingpipestrainofheadendunloaderpiping

Therewasasignificantreductionofvibrationamplitude,butwithoutashiftinMNF.Ithasbeen
concludedthatachangeinstiffnessoftheassemblydidnotoccur,butthereductioninresponsecould
beexplainedbyachangeindamping.

3.bDampingexample(dischargepiping)
Thiscaseillustrates100timesincreaseinvibrationduetopipestrain.Thisisanotherexamplewherea
changeindampingseemstocontributetotheproblem.

Initialmeasurementsofaverticalsectionofpipinghadvibrationsoverguidelines(measured4.5ipspk
@99.4Hz).

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Looseningofclampsatthetwosupportsshowednogaptoexistat
thepostsupportclosesttotheverticalpipe,identifiedas1in
Figure11,whichhadthehighestmeasuredvibration.

Support1wasfoundtobetootallandthatpipewasinabindon
thesupport.Whensupport2wasloosened,agapwasfound
betweensupportandpiping.
1
Figure12showsvibrationtraceinblackisasfoundandredis
aftershimmingthegap

Thevibrationproblemwassolvedwithpropershimmingofthe
pipeatthesupportpreviouslyshowntohaveagap(marked2in
2 Figure11).Thestrainatthesupportmarkedas1inFigure11was
relievedandallowedforshimmingofthepipetothesupportand
Figure11PipingISOwithsupportlocations
identified reinstallationofthepipeclamps.
Spectrum
Vibrationsaftershimmingand Channel: 2
reinstallationoftheclampswere 5.0
measuredandfoundbelowguideline 1
4.5
(.25ipspk@99.4Hz).Basedonthe
reductionofvibrationamplitudebut
4.0
withoutashiftinMNFithasbeen
concludedthatachangeinstiffnessof
3.5
theassemblydidnotoccur,butthatthe
reductioninresponsecouldbe
3.0
Magnitude (ips Pk)

explainedbyachangeindamping.
2.5

2.0

1.5

1.0

0.5
5 2 4

0.0
0 50 100 150 200 250
Figure12Spectrumplotofbeforeandaftermeasurementsshowingpipe
strainresultingfromsupportinstallation


4. ExistingStandards&GoodDesignPractices
Toreducethelikelihoodofpipingstrain,adherencetoexistingstandards,guidelines,andgooddesign
practicesiscritical.

Intheauthorsexperience,themostcommonlyreferencedstandardandrecommendedpracticesinthe
compressionindustryareASMEB31.3ProcessPipingandAPIRP686.Asummaryoftheguidancein
regardstopipestrainisasfollows:
a. ASMEB31.3ProcessPipingSection335describestherequirementsforassemblyanderecting.

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i. Asitrelatestoalignmentthespecificationprohibitsintroducingstrainintothepipingor
equipmentbyforcingpipingintoalignment.
ii. Specifictolerancesforflangedjointalignmentarefurtherdefinedasthefollowing:
1. Flangefacesalignedtoplanewithin1/16perfootasmeasuredacrossanydiameter.
2. Flangeboltholesshouldbewithin.0125maximumoffset.
iii. TheStandardalsoprovidesmethodsfordoingaflexibilityanalysisforapipingsystemand
calculatingdisplacementstresses.
b. APIRP686:RecommendedPracticeforMachineryInstallationandInstallationDesign2nded.
Chapter6providesguidelinesforpipingalignmentaswellasguidelinesassociatedwith
measurementofcomponentsthatcouldidentifypipestrainhavingeffectstoconnected
machinery.
i. LikeASMEB31.3theStandardspecificallyprohibitsforcingpipingintoalignment.
ii. Intermsofpipingandflangealignmentsthefollowingaredefined:
1. Machineryandpipingflangefacesareconsideredandshouldbeparalleltowithin.001
in/inofpipeflangediameterwithamaximumallowableof.030forflangeslargerthan
10indiameter.
2. Forflangessmallerthan10indiametertherequirementistobeparallelwith0.010or
less.
3. Flangefaceseparationisrequiredtobewithin1/16takingintoconsiderationgasket
spacing.
iii. Anadditionalrequirementformeasurementofpipestrainisprovidedforverifyingthat
shaftmovementofcoupledequipmentdoesnotexceed.002inhorizontalorvertical
directionswheninfinalinstallationstate.
iv. Reciprocatingcompressorshaveanadditionalrequirementforverifyingthatpistonrod
runoutbeforeandafterinstallationarewithinthecompressormanufacturerorAPI618
allowances.

Concernswithexistingstandardsarethattheyarenotspecificallywrittenwithconsiderationforaspects
relatedtoreciprocatingcompressorinstallationsand,asaresult,maynotbeadequate.Specificareas
ofconcernsastheyrelatetoreciprocatingcompressorsaremulticylindernozzlepulsationbottles(more
soon3nozzlebottles),andclosecoupledscrubberandsuctionpulsationbottleconfigurations.

Basedonobservedconditionsandworkpracticesduringfieldanalysis,thefollowingbestpracticesare
recommended:
Ensurethatpipingisnotforcedintoalignmentwithmatingflangesorsupportlocationsusing
forcesuchashydraulicjacksandchainfallsduringassembly.
Designpipesupportswithatleastgapbetweenpipingandsupporttoallowforshimming
afterinstallationisinhot(operating)condition.
Pipeclampboltsandpipesupportsshouldlineupwithoutforcingpipingtolineupwiththe
support.Slottingofsupportholesmaybeagoodpracticetoallowforvariabilitydueto
constructiontolerancesandonsitethermalgrowthduringoperation.
Angularalignmentofmatingflangesshouldbeasneartoparallelaspossible.
Ensuremulticylindernozzlepulsationbottleshaveflangefacesonthesameplaneandare
tolerancedtomatewithcylindernozzleswithoutstressingthenozzles.
Implementcustomorificeplatethicknessifaxialmisalignmentbetweenflangesistoogreat,
ratherthandrawingtheflangestogetherwithbolting.
Providesupportforlargeprocessvalves.
Implementsufficientpipesupportsatadequatespacingintervalstopreventinducedmean
stressesfromthepipingweight.
Ensureskidisdesignedappropriatelyfortheinstallationtoreducethelikelihoodofdeflectionof
theskidintransittofinalsiteversusthemanufacturinglocation.
Finalfitupofpipingnearmachinerybyfieldweldingofpipespoolpieces.
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Summary
Pipestraindoesnotappeartochangeresponsefrequencies.
Pipestraincausesvibrationtoincreaseatsomeresponsefrequenciesasaresultofthese
possiblemechanisms:
o Staticstress
o Dynamicstress
o Dampingchanges
o Someotherphenomena
Gooddesignpracticesaswellasgoodmanufacturingandassemblypracticesreducethe
likelihoodofproblems.
Properinstallationiscriticaltoensurelowvibrationandreliability.
Identifyingrootcauseiscomplexandcannotbeeasilyidentifiedwithouttherighttoolsand
experience.
Furtherresearchisneededtoaccomplishthefollowing:
o Conductfiniteelementanalysisandfieldmeasurementstocomparethechangeinstatic
stressesasitrelatestovaryingdegreesofmisalignment.
o Measurevibrationsandrelatethechangeinvibratoryresponsetodifferencesininitial
staticstress.
o Conducthysteresismeasurementsinlaboratoryandatfieldinstallationswithand
withoutstaticstress.
o Developimprovedalignmentrecommendationsforinstallationofpipingsystemsin
straincriticalapplications.
o Developafieldcalculatorabletodefineallowablealignmenttolerancesmorespecificto
individualpipingjoints,withlessdependenceongeneralizedtolerancesforaverywide
rangeofinstallationvariables.
o Validatefindingsandrecommendationsthroughlaboratoryandfieldtesting

References
AmericanSocietyofMechanicalEngineers,B31.32006.ASMECodeforPressurePiping,B31:Process
Piping

AmericanPetroleumInstitute,2009.APIRecommendedPractice686,SecondEditionsDecember2009:
RecommendedPracticeforMachineryInstallationandInstallationDesign

Goodman,L.E.2002.MaterialDampingandSlipDamping.In:Harris,CyrilM,Piersol,AllanG,editors.
HarrisShockandVibrationHandbook

Bibliography
Lazan,B.J.1952.EffectsofDampingConstantsandStressDistributionontheResonanceResponseof
Members.WrightAirDevelopmentCenter,WADCTechnicalReport52320

Authors
BrianHowes
BriangraduatedfromtheUniversityofCalgarywithaMasterofScienceinSolidMechanics.Histhesis
wasentitledAcousticalPulsationsinReciprocatingCompressorSystems.
BrianhasworkedwithBetaMachineryAnalysissince1972.InhispresentpositionasChiefEngineerfor
Beta,hehasperformedtroubleshootingservicesallovertheworld.
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Brianhasmanytechnicalpaperstohiscredit.Therangeofmachineryproblemstheycoverincludesall
mannerofreciprocatingandrotatingmachineryandpipingsystems,balancingandalignmentof
machines,finiteelementanalysis,modelingofpressurepulsation,torsionalvibrationtestingand
modeling,flowinducedpulsationtroubleshootinganddesign,pulpandpaperequipmentsuchaspulp
refiners,etc.Hehasalsoworkedonhundredsofreciprocatingcompressorinstallations.

GaryMaxwell
GarygraduatedfromUniversityofHoustonwithhisBachelorofSciencedegreeinMechanical
EngineeringTechnology.
BeforeworkingforBetaGarywastheEngineeringManagerforacompressorOEM.Hewasresponsible
forthedesignofreciprocatingcompressorsandservedasamemberoftheAPI618TaskForce.While
workingasengineerandmanager,Garygainedexperiencewithfieldtroubleshootingreciprocating
compressorinstallations,performance,andoperations.Garyspriorexperiencealsoincludesworkingas
ResearchandDevelopmentTestTechnicianandEngineerwithresponsibilitiesincludingdesigningtest
fixturesandtestcells,aswellasinstrumentingandconductingtestplans.

AsGeneralManagerforBetasUSOperations,GaryisresponsibleforBetasUSbasedcustomers
involvedincompressor,pumpandpipingdesignservices,aswellasfieldengineeringprojects.Garyalso
managesBetasHoustonbasedengineeringteam,projectexecution,andotheraspectsofthebusiness.

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